cover image Hakim’s Odyssey, Book 2: From Turkey to Greece

Hakim’s Odyssey, Book 2: From Turkey to Greece

Fabien Toulmé, trans. from the French by Hannah Chute. Graphic Mundi, $29.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-63779-008-3

The harrowing second volume in Toulmé’s Hakim’s Odyssey series (after From Syria to Turkey) provides a rare and detailed account behind the headlines about migrants making dangerous overseas journeys. In the previous volume, Hakim—a young man (interviewed by Toulmé) who fled Syria following its descent into civil war—ended up in Istanbul with his young family but struggled to find work. The stakes are higher in this volume as Hakim strives to protect his family. Now, as his wife and in-laws head to France, a bureaucratic breakdown prevents Hakim and his young son from joining them. Despite numerous attempts to get into France legally, Hakim is thwarted by increasingly frustrating administrative barriers. Out of desperation, he and his young son migrate illegally by boat. It’s here where Toulmé’s storytelling and crisp visual style shines, as Hakim navigates the seedy and opportunistic economy built to profit off tragedy, with illicit taxi services and hotels, and merchants selling ocean survival kits and nautical transportation of uncertain reliability. Toulmé’s work comes alive in the minutiae, and he makes palpable the migrants’ terror as they cross the sea, struggling with failed motors that threaten to strand them and leaky boats on the verge of sinking. This work powerfully brings home for readers the horrors of this global crisis and the impossible choices migrants must make. (Mar.)